Upper Basilica, Oropa Sanctuary
Biella, Italy
Source: www.santuariodioropa.it/riscaldamento-innovativo-per-la-basilica-superiore

We thank the sanctuary of Oropa for having placed their trust in Thermal Technology carbon fiber heating systems and we report in full the article published on the official website.


Innovative heating for the Upper Basilica

An innovative heating solution has finally been found for the Upper Basilica of the Sanctuary of Oropa

A few years after the reopening of the Upper Basilica of Oropa, which took place on 30 August 2020 after four years of long and demanding restorations, the Sanctuary of Oropa has finally found a solution to guarantee a comfortable and heated environment for the faithful who attend the celebrations even in the winter period.
After years of failed attempts to heat the Upper Basilica, an innovative and energy-efficient heating solution has finally been found. The challenge was arduous: heating an environment located 1200 meters above sea level, with an average winter temperature that varies from -3°C to -1°C inside. The Upper Basilica of the Sanctuary of Oropa indeed presents unique characteristics: it has an internal surface area of approximately 1300 m² and a central dome over 80 meters high. All traditional heating systems had been tested without success, including the air system, underfloor heating and infrared lamps.
Thanks to Thermal Technology, a company specializing in heating for churches and places of worship, a solution has been identified to guarantee maximum comfort for the people present in the Upper Basilica, with an energy efficiency never achieved before, despite the difficulties due to the altitude and the size of the structure. Thanks to the carbon fiber technology, the company realized that the most efficient solution would be to intervene directly on the benches, rather than heating the entire surrounding environment. The solution adopted involves the use of a heated cushion on the seat and a radiant panel to be mounted on the backrest, with two active sides. The radiant panel is able to heat the back of the person in a sitting position (100W power) reaching a temperature of 37°C, while the front side (400W power) with a temperature of 70°C heats the person in a frontal position by radiation infrared. The temperature perceived by the person sitting at a distance of 60 cm will be around 45°C.
The radiant solution adopted allows each individual bench to be turned on only when necessary, without causing waste of energy in pre-heating. By turning on the system 10 minutes before Holy Mass or before a concert, it will be possible to heat 24 pews and allow at least 100 faithful to participate in the functions at a comfortable temperature. Furthermore, radiant heating systems are equipped with a thermostat, for optimal temperature control. Energy consumption is low and the costs necessary to heat the 100 faithful during the celebrations (around 10 euros for the duration of the Holy Mass) are significantly lower than traditional solutions.

«It is with great satisfaction that we can finally return to celebrating Sunday mass at 12 in the Upper Basilica even in the coldest periods – comments the rector Don Michele Berchi – I particularly thank the Ines Garrone Foundation and the executor Vittorio Carità for having supported the project with a donation, and Mr. Gino Tonello, company manager, who did not lose heart in the face of the many difficulties this challenge presented. This intervention represents an important step forward in the valorisation of the Upper Basilica, which in recent years has undergone important restoration works and improvement of use, including the restoration of the lift to facilitate access to the dome and the panoramic terrace».

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